Museum Class Specimens, Page 2

 

This fine topaz cluster might rank as one of the very best to have been found in China.    Another American classic, the fine tourmalines mined in the 1970s are now almost impossible to find at a down to earth price. 

                Topaz, China                                           Aquamarine, Pakistan                        Tourmaline, California           Tourmaline, Pakistan

 

Dealers refer to this top ranking of their inventor as "Vault" material, "Museum" grade material, "Top Shelf", and so on.  All of these terms are somewhat misleading.  If nothing else, you will at least find yourself  looking at the exceptional specimens in a dealer's inventory if you follow these titles.  

Included here will be specimens noteworthy for their size, form and overall quality.  Rarity will sometimes land a specimen in this category, but, that will not usually be the case.  Lack of damage will be critical here.  Mineral specimens with historic significance, pedigree, or those that have been published in a text or mineralogical journal may also be included here.  Prices may vary dramatically, but all these specimens are quite special.

 

 

 

 

OKL-325

OKL-325      Descloizite    Berg Aukas, Grootfontein, Namibia.  Ex. Thomas G. Fowler collection.   This is the nicest of this material that I have had the privilege to own.  It is very large measuring in at 12.6 x 9.5 x 4 cm.  This domical piece is coated n by blooms of crystals measuring in the hundreds and measuring up to 1.5 cm each.  There are a few chipped or broken crystal but you will find nothing distracting and given the fragility of the specimen it is actually in very amazing condition.  All areas of the piece have well formed crystals without staining, morphing or other issues.  Another important piece from this noteworthy collection.  $4,500

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKK-664

Back

OKK-664    Grossular    York River Skarn Zone, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.  Ex. Michael Walter Collection.  Collected by Michael Walter, 1999.  Figured Specimen, Rock and Gem Magazine, December 1999, p. 81.  Now a Provincial Park, this material is becoming uncommon to find in quality specimens and will only become more so in years to come. This must rank as one of the finest examples from the location.  I've found larger crystals an in cases of small ones, better crystals.  For a large cabinet sized or museum sized piece this one is exceptional.  No damage as it is completely etched from calcite.  White coatings are brucite.  Views great from any direction showing coarse crystallization on every side.  Garnets are to over 4 cm each.  Base and small area of one side have the contacts from matrix.  Sits flat and stable for display.  17 x 14 x 10 cm.  Impressive if you are knowledgeable about the material that has come from this location in the past.  $3,200

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKK-664

OKK-665    Fluorite and Calcite    Rosiclare Level, Minerva, mine #1, Cave-In-Rock District, Illinois.  Ex. Michael Walter collection, prev. Jim Turek, prev. Gene Tribbey.  Figured Specimen, Gems of Wisdom, Gems of Power, book by Teresa Kennedy, Marlowe and Company, New York, 2007.  Currently available through Barnes & Noble and various other book dealers.  A large attractive fluorite from a classic U.S. A. location in the most desirable colors (blue and Yellow).  Blue upper layer with yellow core.  Nicely translucent.  Most of the white calcite is on back and base.  14 x 10 x 9 cm overall, dominated by a large cube measuring 7.3 cm on edge!  Beautiful proportions and balance.  Only a small chip on one corner of one of the smaller cubes.  Excellent condition.  Excellent example.  $2,700

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKK-657

Image used for article

OKK-657    Fluororichterite     Wilberforce, Ontario, Canada.  Ex. Michael Walter collection.  Collected by Michael Walter in 1990's.  Figured Specimen, Rock and Gem Magazine, October 2008, p. 72-75.  This was one of the first important specimens I ever field collected.  I say "important" because it is the finest fluororichterite (NOT fluorichterite or any other misspelling) I have seen.  I've reviewed many many thousands and field collected thousands of these myself.  This one is amazing.  Although selectively etched, which some collectors dislike, it is a cabinet sized display piece with, in my mind, no equal.  The crystals are beautifully formed, lustrous and mostly double terminated.  Only a couple of edge crystals are broken from connections to surrounding matrix (calcite).  No damage to the body of the piece or primary crystals.  Many are twinned.  The terminations are a mix of pinnicoids (flat) and more complex forms.  it sits beautifully and views great from any angle, back top or bottom!  It measures 12 x 9 x 6 cm with crystals to 4.5 cm.  I hope this specimen ends up in a Canadian museum as it deserved to.  I've seen many bigger, many nice almost perfect TN sized specimens but no specimen equal to the quality of this hand sized piece.  I've seen prices all over the map for this material and am pricing this one at a middle of the road to high price as I have nothing of this quality out there to compare to.  $3,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKK-658 True color

Back

This image has the specimen sitting upright correctly. All the other images are sideways or upside down. Sorry.

OKK-658      Aquamarine (Beryl), Muscovite and Quartz     Xue Bao Ding Mine, Ping Wu, Sichuan, China.  Ex. Michael Walter collection.  Figured Specimen, Gems of Wisdom, Gems of Power, book by Teresa Kennedy, Marlowe and Company, New York, 2007.  Currently available through Barnes & Noble and various other book dealers.  A floater with only one small point of matrix contact (now entirely healed1) on one edge.  Sits perfectly on edge for display.  Impossible to photograph this one well and do it justice, so you can expect this one to be impressive.  If you are well versed with this material you will likely agreed that it is exceptional in every regard:  large size, large size of crystals, deep color, zero damage, beautiful form to all crystals (some to 7 cm each), fine clarity, not seen in the images with moderate internal inclusions are all points making this piece one of the finest available.  This was purchased with others from a pocket that was exceptional (in 2007) and I was lucky enough to get all the undamaged pieces.  If you are looking for others from this find they can be seen on my Aquamarine Page in the Chinese mineral section and range from $200 to $1,500 in price.  The backside of this specimen has lots of silver muscovute inclusions and attachments.  This one however, is the killer of the find which I have not shown or been willing to part with until now.  It measures 11.5 x 7 x 7 cm.  Minor quartz attachments.  If you have a serious collection of Chinese minerals or just like impressive aesthetics this is a great choice.  $5,500

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-701

Minor backlighting

Custom engraved acrylic base.

OKI-701    Tourmaline, Topaz, Quartz, Cleavelandite and Muscovite      Stak Nala, Gilgit-Skardu Road, Northern Areas, Pakistan.  This fine specimen is composed of a great diversity of pegmatite minerals in an aesthetic grouping.  It is from the famous “Blue Cap Pocket” of the early 1990s.  This has remained the only noteworthy find of tourmalines from this prolific locale which had blue color zones in their composition.  There are five blue tourmalines in this group that are up to 5.2 cm each.  All are nicely terminated and three are clearly visible while two are moderately buried among the other minerals.  The blue color is obvious in the transparent tips and like other Stak Nala specimens the color becomes darker and more translucent to opaque as the crystal’s base is approached.  The mica books are especially nice being large, thick, and very translucent.  Everything is damage free and very clean.  There is one minor repair to this specimen.  The luster is fine and the tourmalines show nice striations.  No bad views at all.  Stands nicely and measures 6.5 x 6 x 5 cm overall.  Comes with custom engraved acrylic base.  Outstanding!  2,200$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKJ-449

OKJ-449    Fluorite     Treak Cliff Caverns, Castleton, Derbyshire, England.  Ex. Dr. Steve Chamberlain collection.   This very rare example is from the Blue John fluorite occurrence known since Roman times.  The fluorite is only really noted as carving material having been made into vases and other household goods of centuries.  What is not so well-known is that on top of the massive fluorite seam are occasionally found plates of fluorite crystals!  I have never seen these for sale and it appears to be because the miners simply ignore them.  This example was found with two other exceptional piece by Dr. Chamberlain when he visited the occurrence in 1981.  The specimens were simply found in the mud in the base of the tunnels going into the mine.  In its own right it is a very fine fluorite specimen measuring 9.7 x 8 x 4.2 cm and composed of crystals to 2.2 cm on edge.  There has very minor damage to a couple crystal corners otherwise a specimen is in very nice condition.  Some areas have a light overgrowths of an unknown brownish colored mineral.  This specimen has a satin luster and the crystals are almost entirely opaque.  The purple is uncommonly dark.  This is a very fine display piece with an important history in provenance.  Steve will be keeping one of the specimens and I have recently acquired the two others, the best of which is this one.  I’ve only found one other collector who says he knows of these and actually owns one.  $2,500

Here is the story behind the find, told in Steve's words...

For my collecting expedition to Derbyshire, Bob delegated my care to his colleague, Dr. Trevor Ford, whose patch Derbyshire is, especially the Castleton area.  We began by looking at the most amazing occurrence of hydrocarbons on top of the hill that also houses the famous blue john occurrences. This site has gooey black hydrocarbons and also pellets the shape of Good and Plenty licorice candies.  After seeing this site, I understood better why the British considered hydrocarbons to be legitimate minerals.  We then looked at the Odin vein, which is a national historical site that does not allow collecting.  It is a good place to see above ground what you’re going to see underground when you go to look at the blue john.  At the top of the vein, two little streams come together from two different geological terrains.  Where they merge, a white precipitate forms as they mix.  Very interesting.  It gave more specific meaning to the concept of mineralizing springs or mineralizing waters.

Trevor arranged with the owner of Treak Cliff Caverns, one of two commercial sources for blue john, for us to go underground and go beyond the tourist rope to the actual site where blue john is mined.  The banded blue/purple and white banded fluorite is mined by hand because blasting would just shatter the material.  At the working face, the bottom of the outcrop is knee deep in yellow clay.  As I poked around, I discovered that the original surface of the fluorite is crystallized with wonderful dark purple, almost black, curved cubic crystals of fluorite and the occasional calcite crystal.  This stuff is peeled off and falls into the clay.  I only had about 10 minutes to scrounge around in the clay and stuff my pockets and the inside of my shirt with as many pieces as I could find.  When I later showed them to Bob King, he told me that two of them were as fine as any specimens from either Treak Cliff Caverns or the adjacent Blue John Caverns he’d ever seen.  Wow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKJ-391

OKJ-391    Fluorite     Treak Cliff Caverns, Castleton, Derbyshire, England.  Ex. Dr. Steve Chamberlain collection.   This very rare example is from the Blue John fluorite occurrence known since Roman times.  The fluorite is only really noted as carving material having been made into vases and other household goods of centuries.  What is not so well-known is that on top of the massive fluorite seam are occasionally found plates of fluorite crystals!  I have never seen these for sale and it appears to be because the miners simply ignore them.  This example was found with two other exceptional piece by Dr. Chamberlain when he visited the occurrence in 1981.  The specimens were simply found in the mud in the base of the tunnels going into the mine.  In its own right it is a very fine fluorite specimen measuring 8.2 x 7 x 4.2 cm and composed of crystals to 3.5 cm on edge.  There has very minor damage to a couple crystal corners otherwise a specimen is in very nice condition.  Some areas have a light frosted appearance due to a microscopic overgrowth of what also what appears to be fluorite.  This specimen has a satin luster and the crystals are almost entirely opaque.  The purple is uncommonly dark.  This is a very fine display piece with an important history in provenance.  Steve will be keeping on of the specimens and I have recently acquired the second (if you are seriously considering this specimen want a comparison with the second, contact me. In general it is almost identical in form and size to this one).  If you see another one of these specimens in anyone else's collection in your lifetime, I'd be very surprised.  $1,950

Oh, here is the story behind the find, told in Steve's words...

For my collecting expedition to Derbyshire, Bob delegated my care to his colleague, Dr. Trevor Ford, whose patch Derbyshire is, especially the Castleton area.  We began by looking at the most amazing occurrence of hydrocarbons on top of the hill that also houses the famous blue john occurrences. This site has gooey black hydrocarbons and also pellets the shape of Good and Plenty licorice candies.  After seeing this site, I understood better why the British considered hydrocarbons to be legitimate minerals.  We then looked at the Odin vein, which is a national historical site that does not allow collecting.  It is a good place to see above ground what you’re going to see underground when you go to look at the blue john.  At the top of the vein, two little streams come together from two different geological terrains.  Where they merge, a white precipitate forms as they mix.  Very interesting.  It gave more specific meaning to the concept of mineralizing springs or mineralizing waters.

Trevor arranged with the owner of Treak Cliff Caverns, one of two commercial sources for blue john, for us to go underground and go beyond the tourist rope to the actual site where blue john is mined.  The banded blue/purple and white banded fluorite is mined by hand because blasting would just shatter the material.  At the working face, the bottom of the outcrop is knee deep in yellow clay.  As I poked around, I discovered that the original surface of the fluorite is crystallized with wonderful dark purple, almost black, curved cubic crystals of fluorite and the occasional calcite crystal.  This stuff is peeled off and falls into the clay.  I only had about 10 minutes to scrounge around in the clay and stuff my pockets and the inside of my shirt with as many pieces as I could find.  When I later showed them to Bob King, he told me that two of them were as fine as any specimens from either Treak Cliff Caverns or the adjacent Blue John Caverns he’d ever seen.  Wow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMSCEPTER-3

IMSCEPTER-3      Quartz Scepter    Huanggang Mine, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China.    I have spent a great deal of time scoping out these quartz specimens as they have trickled out of this prolific mine in Inner Mongolia.  There have not been many to be had in China or here stateside.  This is one of the very finest examples I have been able to find, and I have been very thorough regarding this issue.  The luster, usually lack of, is what determines if these are what one would expect to have in an exceptional quartz specimen.  So few have even a moderate luster.   This is by far the finest scepter quartz I have seen from this locality.  It is simply huge!  The specimen measures an amazing 17 cm long and is up to 7 cm wide with the cap measuring over 5 cm across!  The luster is moderate to high and might be improved with professional cleaning (there is some calcite deposition which will be great in some collector’s minds while in others it might be something to be removed).  I have not attempted to clean the piece.  As can be seen in the images it is a complex scepter that may be considered several crystals with a very slightly divergent growth from a central point at its base.  In hand it really looks like a single crystal and most would probably consider it to be one.  Internally the translucent crystal has a tan colored tint and the tips of the major terminations have an unusual inclusion on their tips.  This was the only crystal in the pocket according to the dealer I acquired it from.  I have seen grouping of decent material from this location that were up to 12 cm in diameter, total, but nothing approaching the magnitude of this specimen.  I’ve shown it to several others “in the know”  about this mine and it appears to be the finest example to come from the site.  A couple very minor dings however you’ll have to look closely to find them.  Impressive is an understatement.  An important piece that may end up being among the few finest specimens of any species to come from this prolific location.  $4,500

 

 

 

 

World-class Arfvedsonites

 

 

 

 

 

Custom engraved acrylic base.

OKI-739

OKI-739     Cerussite Twins on Malachite after Azurite    Tsumcorp Mine, Tsumeb, Otikoyo Region, Namibia, Africa.  Ex. Nancy Collins Collection circ. 1970.  This fine specimen measures 8 x 7.2 x 4.5 cm overall and is composed of numerous twinned and untwined cerussites on a lush carpet of forest green malachite pseudomorphs after azurite.  The malachite pseudo are present in two generations: the first generation crystals are large, to 2.7 cm each, and followed by the second generation, much smaller, deeper green pseudos which coat about 30% of the surfaces of the first generation crystals.  On this matrix can be found 2 fine clusters of twinned cerussites to 1.8 cm each and one lonely untwined crystal.  They all stand off the malachite in high relief.  The cerussites are very translucent and have a waxy to silky luster.  There is no damage to the primary display face although some of the edge contacts are visible from the front yet not distracting.  The backside has some mineralization ,as well.  The specimens of malachite after azurite from this mine are known world over as classics.  I’ve sold and seen many dozens of these malachites after azurite, but the several of these I now have for sale are the only ones I’ve known of in combination with the cerussites.  Comes with a custom engraved acrylic base. $3,500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-715

Back or bottom

Custom engraved acrylic base.

OKI-715    Babingtonite, Prehnite and Quartz        Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China.  This amazing piece is certainly a show stopper.  Measuring in at 11.3 x 5.5 x 4.2 cm it is the type of cabinet specimen which commands interest.  A pleasing mix of species dominated by numerous HUGE babs to 4 cm each, many of which are double terminated and of high luster.  Looks like a floater (maybe a small area of contact on some of the prehnite).  NO damage.  Everything is very clean and attractive.  The double terminated quartz crystals scattered about on the specimen add flash.  This piece displays wonderfully.  It is not every day that killer specimens like this become available at the low price I am asking.  You’ll be surprised.  Comes with a custom engraved acrylic base.  $5,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-707

Bottom termination

Minor backlighting

OKI-707    Tourmaline, Quartz, Cleavelandite and Muscovite    Bulachi Mine, near Stak Nala, Gilgit-Skardu Road, Northern Areas, Pakistan.  This specimen is an attractive, double terminated tourmaline of a deep green color that shows moderate translucence.  The specimen has a basil pinnicoid termination with a rough texture for its base (it sits smartly on this end) and a steeply terminated opposing end that stands vertically.  The piece is nicely striated and of excellent luster.  Not a blemish to be found on this excellent specimen.  There is a white girdle of albite with minor quartz and mica.  There is also a larger fin of albite sticking off of one side.  Highly aesthetic and substantial in size.  There is close to a kilogram of tourmaline here and it measures approximately 7 x 7 x 7 cm.  This fine piece really feels substantial in your hand and is much better in person.  From and unusual location.  Comes with a custom engraved acrylic base.  Top shelf all the way!  Perfection!   2,500$

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-704

Okay view of fluorapatites

Back

Minor backlighting

Custom engraved acrylic base.

OKI-704    Tourmaline, Fluorapatite and Albite    Stak Nala, Gilgit-Skardu Road, Northern Areas, Pakistan.  This piece is the finest Stak Nala specimen which I have offered for sale.  It has two lustrous, major crystals measuring 6.5 and 5.4 cm long each.  Both are beautifully double terminated and hemimorphic in their development.  Terminations are transparent to translucent and the shades of green color which dominate the tourmalines varies nicely.  Aesthetic with its wrappings of feldspar, the final additions to the mix are several small (to .7 cm each) pink fluorapatite crystals.  Fluorapatite with tourmalines from Stak Nala are practically unheard of!!  Everything is damage free and beautifully formed.  There is some minor wax on the albite.  Overall measurements are 7.5 x 5 x 3.4 cm.  I believe most dealers would have priced this fine, aesthetic grouping far beyond what I have chosen to ask for it.  This piece is exceptional and exhibits fine aesthetics…colors, luster, balance, form, diversity of species… its got it all.  Even better in person as the pics can't really express how impressive this piece is.   Remember, there may be plenty of Stak Nala specimens available, but few will ever come close to the quality of this amazing damage free grouping.  Comes with a custom engraved acrylic base.  $5,500

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKD-269, Front

Side

Top showing tourmaline inclusions

Closeup of stepped base

Back view

Custom engraved acrylic base.

OKD-269    Aquamarine on Muscovite with Tourmaline and Albite   Chumar Bakhoor, Nagar, Northern Areas, Pakistan.  WOW!  This piece has also passed the 10x magnification test and showed up with no damage or contacts.  It is a fully terminated floater with lots of branching muscovite, minor white albite and acicular black tourmalines scattered among the muscovite (very noticeable on back view) and in the cap of the primary crystal as shallow inclusions.  The tourmalines which include the big crystal run parallel to and just below the surface of its upper termination.   The base of this specimen must have once been on matrix but has totally developed into a fully terminated grouping.  This base is highly complex in it multiple stepped effect.  A great contrast to the simple termination developed on the top of the primary crystal and others within the grouping.  Nice clarity near top of piece and it becomes more included toward the base of the crystals.  The primary crystal in this piece is 7 cm in length with the overall dimensions of the piece being 7.5 x 7 x 7 cm.  A fantastic specimen for any collection.  Comes with a custom engraved acrylic base.  1,600$

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKF-560

Back

Bottom

Custom engraved acrylic base.

OKF-560    Fluorite on Quartz     Xie Fan Mine, Jianxi Prov., China.  I don’t tend to carry a whole lot of specimens which I would consider to be the best of their kind.  This piece however is the best of a find that came out of China two years ago and has yet to be topped.  I have seen a few dozen chunks of fluorite and a few good miniatures from this find.  Also, I own another, bigger, specimen from this find but it is not as displayable as this one.  Specimens from this limited find seem to almost always have damage, too.  This specimen measures 10.6 x 7.5 x 6 cm with cuboctahedral fluorites to 5 cm in diameter on milky quartz crystals to 5.8 cm in length.  The entire specimen is a floater which was attached to other crystallized rock but has since separated and regrown crystal faces on those broken surfaces.  The fluorites are a light sea green color and have interesting inclusions totally unique to this find.  Inside the crystals on a lower level (earlier crystal surfaces) there are several forms of inclusions.  The white spots could be anything, most likely tiny calcites or dolomites.  The brown dendritic inclusions however are more complex.  No analysis of these is known to me, but I believe they are branching groups of pyrite crystals which in some cases have altered to goethite on their ends (which were likely once exposed to oxygen).  The backsides of the fluorites are stepped in growth while the fronts are very clean.  Most surfaces look slightly etched (frosted) but this is an overgrowth of cubic crystal faces.  There is no damage to this exceptional display piece.  This is a world class fluorite specimen form a find which appears to be exhausted.  Comes with a custom engraved acrylic base.  2,900$

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